SAA Testifies Against Teacher Protection Act

By John Forester | January 12, 2018

The SAA testified in opposition to Assembly Bill 693, the so-called Teacher Protection Act, at a lengthy and contentious public hearing held yesterday before the Assembly Committee on Judiciary.  The SAA feels so strongly about this legislation that we have taken two extraordinary steps.  First, we retained Attorney Mike Julka of the Boardman & Clark Law Firm to prepare a thorough legal analysis of AB 693.  Second, Attorney Julka appeared at the hearing with SAA Executive Director John Forester to share with the Committee the major concerns we have with AB 693 as identified in that legal analysis.  The SAA’s testimony was impactful to say the least.  I urge all interested SAA members to review the legal analysis.  It clearly illustrates that AB 693 has massive legal and policy problems.

Several SAA members also delivered testimony in opposition to the bill.  WCASS members Barb Buffington and Jerry Nicholson did a fabulous job testifying as a team before the Committee.  Paul Brost, Monona Grove High School principal, also attended the hearing and submitted testimony.

Opponents of the bill were clearly more numerous and better organized than proponents at the hearing.  The coalition of bill opponents included school administrators, school board members, teachers, legal and civil rights advocates, and a very strong and vocal contingent of disability rights advocates.  No action was taken on the bill by the Committee yesterday.  It’s fate in the Assembly remains uncertain.  And remember, the bill currently has no Senate sponsor.

Stay tuned.

See Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Coverage here.

See Wisconsin Public Radio Coverage here.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Priority Legislative Alert on Teacher Protection Act

By John Forester | January 10, 2018

The SAA is issuing a Priority Legislative Alert on Assembly Bill 693, the so-called Teacher Protection Act.

As we reported earlier, Assembly Bill 693 has been scheduled for public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Judiciary on Thursday, January 11th at 9:00 am in Room 417 North, State Capitol.  The bill has 16 Assembly Republican co-sponsors and no Senate sponsors.  The SAA strongly opposes the bill.

See Public Hearing Notice here.

We urge SAA members to take action nowPlease contact your legislators and ask them to oppose AB 693.

In your communication please consider using the talking points listed below as well as any of your own concerns about the bill based on your experiences and expertise.

Talking Points:

For your convenience in contacting your legislators, we have provided links to the Assembly Directory, the Senate Directory and Who Are My Legislators.

If you should have any questions please email me at.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thank you for everything you do on behalf of Wisconsin school children.

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Sparsity Aid, Low Revenue Ceiling Draft Circulated for Co-Sponsorship

By John Forester | January 8, 2018

On the heels of the Governor’s announcement earlier today, draft legislation relating to an increase in Sparsity Aid and the Low Revenue Ceiling has been circulated for co-sponsorship in the State Capitol.

See the bill draft and co-sponsorship memo below.

Bill Draft

Co-Sponsorship Memo

Topics: Legislative Action, SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

Walker Champions Sparsity Aid and Low Revenue Ceiling Increase

By John Forester | January 8, 2018

Governor Scott Walker will visit Coleman High School in Coleman today to announce his support for legislation authored by Representative John Nygren (R—Marinette) that increases Sparsity Aid by $6.4 million for the 2018-19 school year. The bill provides an increase from $300 per pupil to $400 per pupil for districts that currently qualify for Sparsity Aid. Additionally, the bill includes an increase to the Low Revenue Ceiling from $9,100 to $9,400 for the 2018-19 school year, with the Low Revenue Ceiling rising by $100 per year thereafter up to $9,800 by the 2022-23 school year. In order to ensure accountability to local voters, districts where a referendum to raise the revenue limit was rejected by the voters within the past three years would not be allowed to raise their revenue limit.

See Governor Walker news release here.

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Teacher Protection Act Scheduled for Hearing

By John Forester | January 5, 2018

Assembly Bill 693, the so-called “Teacher Protection Act”, has been scheduled for public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Judiciary on Thursday, January 11th at 9:00 am in the North Hearing Room (Second Floor North), State Capitol.

The bill has 16 Assembly Republican co-sponsors and no Senate sponsors.  The SAA strongly opposes the bill.  The SAA will likely issue a Priority Legislative Alert early next week.  Stay tuned.

See Public Hearing Notice here.

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Bills Introduced “Fixing” Concurrent Enrollment Under ECCP

By John Forester | January 5, 2018

As you know, the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) adopted in the 2017-19 State Budget significantly altered the funding model for concurrent enrollment programs at UW System campuses.  The old system was a shared funding model with K12 school districts absorbing the staffing costs and the UW institutions providing the accreditation and accountability.  Parents then received access to college credits at reduced cost.

However, the new ECCP program requires school districts to pick up 75% of the costs, with the state picking up 25%.  The new funding burden for school districts will likely end this effective program.

Legislation introduced recently (AB 805 and SB 677) by a bipartisan group of legislators would exempt concurrent enrollment programs at UW System schools from the new ECCP requirements.  The SAA is supporting this legislation, as is the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance (SWSA), the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB).  AB 805 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, chaired by Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville).  SB 677 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).  With time running short in the legislative session, the SAA is advocating for the bill to receive public hearings as soon as possible.

SAA members are encouraged to contact their legislators as soon as possible and ask them to support this import legislation.

The SAA will keep you informed of this important effort.

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Personal Notes May Be “Records” Under Public Records Law

By John Forester | January 2, 2018

From the Legal Side . . .

Check out the latest Legal Update from the Strang Patteson Law Firm in which they review a recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision that warns that some personal notes prepared by school district employees and officials are included in the definition of “records” under the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of Strang Patteson.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Open Enrollment Update: Full-Time and Part-Time

By John Forester | December 29, 2017

From the Legal Side . . .

In its most recent newsletter, Boardman Clark provides an update on full- and part-time open enrollment for Wisconsin school districts.

The SAA regularly receives these legal updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of Boardman Clark.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update, SAA Legal Side | No Comments »

Five Hearing Scheduled on Proposed Educator Licensing Rules

By John Forester | December 29, 2017

The Department of Public Instruction will conduct five hearings in January to accept public testimony on proposed changes to educator licensing rules (PI 34). In addition to the hearings, a public comment period is open until Jan. 31 with written comments on the proposed permanent rules given the same consideration as public testimony. The hearing dates, times, and locations are as follows:

January 16, 4 to 6 p.m. — St. Norbert College, Mulva LibraryRoom 101, 400 Third Street, De Pere;

January 17, 2:30 to 4 p.m. — DPI Headquarters, GEF 3, Room P41, 125 South Webster Street, Madison;

January 19, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Milwaukee Public Schools, Auditorium, 5225 West Vliet Street, Milwaukee;

January 25, 3 to 5 p.m. — CESA 10, Conference Center, 725 West Park Avenue, Chippewa Falls; and

January 29, 4 to 6 p.m. — University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Centennial Hall, 3212 Centennial Hall, La Crosse.

Additional information is available in the DPI news release here.

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Lasee, Ripp to Join Walker Administration

By John Forester | December 29, 2017

From WisPolitics.com …

GOP state Sen. Frank Lasee and Rep. Keith Ripp are joining the Walker administration next week, according to the guv’s office.

The GOP lawmakers, who are expected to resign their seats in the Legislature later today, will double their salaries.

Ripp, R-Lodi, will take over the No. 3 spot at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as the assistant deputy secretary. He was considered a possible candidate for the secretary’s job before Gov. Scott Walker appointed former GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf to the post.

He will make about $105,000 in his new job, compared to a legislator’s salary of $50,950.

Lasee, R-De Pere, will become the administrator for the Department of Workforce Development’s Worker’s Compensation Division. He will make $101,000.

No special elections are expected for either seat, which are up in November. The Legislature is expected to be in only a handful of days before adjourning for the year sometime in March.

Topics: SAA Capitol Reports, SAA Capitol Reports with Email Notifications, SAA Latest Update | No Comments »

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